A few days ago I enjoyed reading about and watching Nerve.com’s The Twelve Greatest Opening Credits in Movie History, and it has inspired me to explore my favorite movie scores and television theme songs.
Some are classics, some are more contemporary, and most have emotional resonance and personal significance.
Click here to open and listen to the iMix for this set list in iTunes.
In no particular order…
Dances With Wolves (John Barry)
One of my favorite soundtracks to listen to when I’m writing. I’m a huge Costner fan from that era, which is not something that most would admit. Out loud. Or on paper.
Babel/Deadwood (Gustavo Santaolalla)
I love the track “Iguazu,” which is on both the Deadwood series and Babel film soundtracks. However, I was quite surprised that Santaolalla won the Oscar for Original Score for Babel when this track was previously used and written. There was controversy earlier this year when Johnny Greenwood was disqualified from contention for his phenomenal There Will Be Blood score, because he intermixed music from the year before on one of the tracks.
Atonement (Dario Marianelli)
“Briony” features the typewriter as an instrumental accompaniment, which is integral to the story. Brilliant.
There Will Be Blood (Johnny Greenwood)
“Future Markets” is the modern day Psycho theme. It is dark, tense and perfect.
Superman (John Williams)
Goosebumps, every single time. Favorite superhero/theme song of all time.
Rocky (Bill Conti)
You don’t have to be a guy or a jock to be inspired every time you hear the opening seconds of “Gonna Fly Now.” I only wish it was an instrumental song; the cheesy vocals kind of ruin it for me.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (John Williams)
When I hear this, I am instantly transported back to 1981, and the joy of being 8 years old returns. Is there a better feeling, however fleeting?
The X-Files (Mark Snow)
My second favorite TV series of all time. I respond to this theme like a cat who hears the crinkle and shake of the treat bag. Sadly, Snow’s original X-Files TV theme isn’t available on iTunes. If I had one complaint about Lost (my #1), it would be that there isn’t an actual theme song like this for the show.
Although many would disagree, A View to a Kill and Duran Duran’s theme song top my Best of Bond list. Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” from Casino Royale is a close second.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Howard Shore & Annie Lennox)
“Into the West” is haunting and quite beautiful.
The Matrix trilogy
I don’t understand why none of these soundtracks are available on iTunes besides Don Davis’ original score, but at least a version of Rob Dougan’s “Clubbed to Death” from the first film is up there. By far, The Matrix: Reloaded is the best of the bunch.
American Beauty (Thomas Newman)
This film is in my Top 10 of all time, and I laugh and smile each time I hear the title track, conjuring up the image of Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening in their career performances.
Six Feet Under (Thomas Newman)
Another frustrating lack of representation on iTunes, because Newman’s series theme song is so iconic and memorable.
Brokeback Mountain (Gustavo Santaolalla)
The soundtrack was heartbreaking long before the tragic death of Heath Ledger. I find it impossible to listen to “The Wings” without welling up, thinking about the absolutely exquisite last scene of the film, in Ennis’ trailer with Jack’s shirt.
So, my quiet readers, which theme songs rule your world?